Album Review By Adam McCann
Napalm Records/Power Metal
When Swedish metal legends HammerFall announce a new album, it is already wildly known what the listener will get; this is the band which changed the playing field in the late 90’s and were the main driving force in moulding modern power metal. As a band, HammerFall have never delivered a truly dreadful album and therefore, a certain expectation has come to be revered with the release of a new HammerFall album and no wonder this continues with their latest release ‘Dominion’.
Rather than firing out of the blocks, ‘Dominion’ pays a quiet little homage of 70’s hard rock and heavy metal pioneers UFO with a guitar intro to ‘Never Forgive, Never Forget’ which touches on, but does not outrightly plagiarise ‘Doctor, Doctor’, yes, this is not original, but it does make a lot of fans quickly turn their ears on to listen more in depth before a typical HammerFall rhythm falls into place. Furthermore, with ‘Dominion’ the magic in the HammerFall waters has returned with many of the tracks being some of the best work that the Swedes have written in years; ‘Dead By Dawn’, ‘Testify’, ‘Bloodline’ and the title track all demonstrate what this band is about. Of course, these tracks are delivered with a huge helping of cheese that makes it impossible to not smile throughout, particularly during the fist rousing anthem ‘(We Make) Sweden Rock’, a song so deliberately cheesy, it should be bad, but this is completely on the contrary. Unfortunately, where ‘Dominion’ falls down is the Achilles Heel of HammerFall, the ballad; ‘And Yet I Smile’ and even more so the woeful, ‘Second To None’ easily fall into the ‘skip’ category and wouldn’t be missed from the album if they were banished altogether.
‘Dominion’ is the best album that HammerFall have delivered in a good number of years and it is good to see the Swedish legends assert their dominance back on the heavy metal scene. ‘Dominion’ is fun, enjoyable and packed full to the brim of the cheesy riffs and lyrics that just make HammerFall so damned good!
Rating : 78/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann